Friday, 31 December 2010

Go Safe

We wish everyone a safe evening tonight.
Happy New Year and we will be back new year!

Thursday, 30 December 2010


Last night whilst the DSO parked his car around the corner from the station in Burlington Road, some nasty waste of space decided that they would steal his hub caps from his car.

Why anyone would require to take 4 plastic (slightly cracked) Peugeot 106 caps who knows but sadly they did.

Dorset Police are currently investigating but we ask did anyone see anything or perhaps know someone who has been offered a set?

Oh forgot to mention, the caps had been security marked so they are no good to anyone else.

Of course should they turn back up at the door to the station then that would be a result (but I doubt the thief would be reading this let alone have the nerve to return them.)

Review of the Year: Other Highlights

Carwasher of the Year : Rid
The car was blue when he bought it, constant cleaning has taken it back to its red undercoat.

Meringue eater of the Year: Ian

"I might manage another small one."

Best attempt to cut through an armoured electrity cable with a spade: Nick (Don't ask)

"Are you sure this is safe?"
(don't panic HQ health and safety it was all under control)

Most chips consumed in one sitting (or standing) this year:- Austen
"Chips? Moi?"

Review of the Year:- Comedy Fall.

Comedy Fall of the Year was Mr T back in April.

"Terry, Terry, where are you?"

"I'm here, in the hedge"

Wednesday, 29 December 2010

Review of the Year:- Malcolm

And who could forget team member 'Malcolm the Gingerbread Man.'

Who was sacked by the heartless Station Officer.

He even was asked to open Corfe Fest 2010 really he was!

..and his untimely demise at the paws of Wilf.

Moos Headlines.

Daft cow.

Silly moo.

Back in Action

The team was back in action on Tuesday night, involved in the search for a male who got seperated from the rest of his party on a walk back from Seacombe to Langton. Unlike the clear cold days of the last month, the weather turned damp yesterday with a heavy mist and this combined with failing light, cold temperatures and slippy conditions served to disorientate the walker who ordinarily knew the area well.

When the alarm was raised, the ops team at Portland Coastguard put their extensive knowledge of the area to good use and directed the search which also involved our coastguard rescue colleagues at St Albans and Dorset Police.

The story had a happy ending when the walker turned up after nearly six hours, cold, wet, tired and very muddy, but otherwise safe and well. If you're planning a walk along the coast path over the next few days, take care -after the recent snow, it's very muddy and slippery and when it's dark and foggy and you're tired, lost and alone it's not the best place to be!

Tuesday, 28 December 2010

Review of the Year:- Funniest Photo

The funniest photo of the year has to be this one.....the DSO on his driving assessment.

Station Officers Incidents of the Year

During 2010, two incidents come to me that were not exactly "Coastguard standard incidents"

There I was sitting enjoying a cup of tea, the next.

And no we didn't start the fire, someone left a BBQ to near the grass and the next thing it went up. Thanks to our prompt action along with some members of the public the fire was put out before a major heath fire was started.
The other incident was a mountain biker who was seriously injured on Godlingston Hill, Ambulance couldn't get near the site, so along with the crew of Rescue 106 the male was airlifted to Poole Hospital.

Both incidents highlight our role in the community and that its not always maritime incidents we deal with.

Monday, 27 December 2010

The blog returns

After the Christmas break, we are back.....

Thankfully the team had a quite few days with no call outs, although a windsurfer caused the watch keeper at NCI some concern this afternoon. Just as he liaised with Portland MRCC the windsurfer managed to get ashore safely.

So as we approach the end of the year, we will highlight some of the incidents that occurred during 2010.

Friday, 24 December 2010

To all our readers

To all our readers, A Merry but safe Christmas

Remember to stay safe over the Christmas holidays, and if you are talking a walk with your dog, please keep it on a lead near the cliff edge......we really do not want our 10th dog incident !
Coastguards all around the country remain on call and staff in the Operations Room will be at work over the Christmas holidays.

Thursday, 23 December 2010

Pause for thought

Christmas is a time for family and friends, we should all take time to stop and think about people who aren't going to have a Christmas to remember due to illness for example.

One of our team, "John" is still very ill in Poole hospital and all our thoughts are directed to him and his family at this time.

On behalf of the team can we thank everyone in the town who have sent their best wishes, these have all been passed on .

Take a few minutes today to pause and think about someone you know who isn't going to have a Christmas to could be the best present they receive.

Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Not the best headline

I've just got in to be greeted by this headline in our local paper. Already a family member has been on the phone concerned its our station that is closing.

I fear my phone will be busy again tomorrow explaining to our local supporters what this consultation is all about.
Remember our earlier Blog about the difference between our station and a MRCC, we urge everyone to read the consultation document (see the link to the right) and reply on the points raised.

Tuesday, 21 December 2010

Merry Christmas from Gareth

The great Christmas card exchange took place tonight, except Gareth decided that he would exchange ginger bread biscuits instead.
Interesting idea and I see his point....swap cards or eat biscuits !

December Kit Night

Now that the ban has been lifted.

December Kit Night tonight, which means one thing:-

Eat mince pies.

Actually two things:-

Check the kit properly and eat mince pies.

Monday, 20 December 2010


Someone left a question on one of the recent blogs asking if we have nominated drivers for the vehicle?

Not a easy question to answer as many factors come into play.

When you join and if you have a driving license, you start to learn to drive the vehicle on dry roads . From there you progress on to other conditions and other terrains, sand, mud etc. but still not under emergency condtions. Only when the Sector Manager and Station Officer are happy can you progress to "blue light" driving and then again going through all the different terrain conditions.

There is also trailer driving, which these days can cause a problem as not everyone has a trailer entitlement on their licenses anymore.

Down here we dont get snow very often so training under these conditions doesnt happen very often.

So to answer the oringinal question, yes everyone can drive the vehicle, however it depends on the incident, the location and the training the individual has had.

Currently with this weather its down to a Risk Assessment, discussed with the Operations Room, the Sector Manager, Station Officer or Deputy Station Officer.

Sunday, 19 December 2010


Look who popped into the station today!

The weather did'nt beat the visit thankfully,so the 16 children of team enjoyed their christmas party.

Watch the ICE !

With further weather warnings around the country, a picture of a little accident in Swanage.

Church Hill in Swanage after a vehicle had crashed through the railings.

Behind me was another vehicle that had slid down the hill and come to rest against a telegraph pole.

Remember only main roads tend to get gritted, best stay off the hills, plan your journey !

Saturday, 18 December 2010


This afternoon we took the vehicle out to check the area.
In these conditions its important to run the truck as the cold affects the battery and also to ensure its working correctly.
There was some driver training and accident prevention with members of the public.
Seeing the vehicle out it offers reassurance to the public but probably the most important part was checking the various routes. The above picture is the B3351 which is the back road between Corfe and Studland, OK in a 4 x 4 but perhaps not in a normal car?
On completion of the patrol all the information was fed back to the Operation Room (Portland Coastguard) so they could feed this to other emergency services in Dorset to build a good picture of whats happening across the county.

Yet more snow

Yet again Coastguard teams around the country have been called out to assist their local communities.

From the main MCA site

Barfleur - Cross Channel Ferry


Some good news reported in the Bournemouth Echo.

Brittany Ferries have decided to return the Barfleur cross channel ferry to the Poole - Cherbourg route. Great news for the local economy and everyone that wants to go to France. It'll run from February to September when they'll assess the financial viability of the route. I suppose it's use it or loose it.

Regular readers will remember the Barfleur incident last year when what can only be decribed as 'all hell breaking loose' when we were tasked to what we thought was a young Russian family who had jumped over board the Balfleur Ferry.

Our local MRCC at Portland worked throughout the night to resolve the situation by morning.The incident demonstrated the enormous amount of effort put in by the Watch Officers over at Portland who co-ordinated three coastguard teams, a helicopter and two RNLI lifeboats. Using local knowledge they were able to plot the likely areas of search which grew by the hour while keeping us all safe on the ground. A 5 star effort.

Friday, 17 December 2010


We are very grateful to the many people in the last 24 hours offering support or are concerned about the future of the Coastguard in the local area, all we can recommend is that you log on to the MCA website and read the prosposal document in full, then use the online document to ask questions or concerns direct to the MCA.

To help a little with terminolgy and possible confusion about the general term in the press about Coastguard Stations , our station is known as a Coastguard Rescue Station (CRS) staffed by volunteer Rescue Officers. Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres (MRCCs) are the 24 hour rescue centres operated by full time Coastguards. Their role is to take the emergency calls and coordinate the search and rescue assets.

Anyone connected to the sea or coastal users are urged to make comment during this consulation period , log on at

Or click on the direct link on the right hand side of our blog.

Thursday, 16 December 2010

Government Announcement

A news story reported by the BBC on the BBC website.

More information from the MCA is available here.

Tuesday, 14 December 2010

Always on duty

So there I was, enjoying my daughters Nativity play when a local chocolate producing shop owner sitting next to me asks for some advice. "Whats the weather going to do"?

There are some important orders to dispatch before Christmas and its important to know if the orders would get there or why not ask your local coastguard?

So there we were looking at the forecast on the Internet trying to decide what parts of the country will be affected on Thursday and Friday.

So on Christmas day when you open your presents and you find chocolates, spare a thought for the Coastguard and the part they may have paid in getting those chocolates to the shops.
(find an empty box and no doubt we will get the blame too!)

The joys of being too well known in the town!

Weather Warning

It appears its getting cold again for Thursday with early warnings of rain, sleet and snow.

With the bad weather comes the ice and as this link from the BBC shows the dangers of ice on frozen ponds.

Again this year the pressures on the emergency services has increased during the cold weather. This includes the Coastguard up and down the country using their 4x4 vehicles and local knowledge to support other services but more importantly their communities.

As this link from the main MCA shows, the Coastguard have been busy in Scotland supporting the NHS.

Congratulations to the crews of the helicopter from Stornoway for reaching 200 incidents this year.

Team Work

Another good rescue yesterday with assistance from our friends at Swanage Lifeboat. As always the press are thanking the RNLI and Swanage Team. However as always one group gets forgotten.

Much of the co-ordination for such rescues comes from the watch officers at Portland MRCC who being local themselves know the area well. Last summer a group of the watch team popped over to Swanage ( in their own time) to walk the cliffs to gain further local knowledge; now there's commitment. It means that they have a great understanding of this busy stretch of the Dorset Coast and are able to put that knowledge into use when required.

It's always reassuring on cold dark nights when your up against it to have the team at Portland watching over you and keeping you safe. Thanks if you're reading.

Monday, 13 December 2010

Another Dog Incident

The Swanage Coastguard IRT were called out along with Swanage Inshore Lifeboat (ILB) to a dog fallen from cliffs near Old Harry Rocks.

It appears the owner had lost the dog in the morning and for some reason had not notified the Coastguard or Police at the time. Passing walkers heard the dog this afternoon and called the Coastguard as there was concern the dogs owner had also fallen. The IRT arrived on scene and due to the location decided it was safer to request the ILB to recover the dog.

Thankfully the dog had no injuries and was reunited to a very relieved owner at the lifeboat house.

This is the 9th (ninth) dog incident this year for the team, some have not had a happy ending. Again we ask owners of dogs to keep dogs on leads when near the cliffs, and should you lose you dog near the cliffs please report it to the Coastguard and Police straight away.

Sunday, 12 December 2010

Always worrying

Always worrying when you type in 'HM Coastguard Logo' into Google Images and the first page shows this....Is this really the 20th most viewed photo to do with the subject line?

So I clicked on it.

Oh yes now I remember.

Saturday, 11 December 2010

Mince Pies

Been to checked the station after training the other night. Christmas cards on the table for various people, life jackets come back from testing its looking good.......hold on.

Boxes of mince pies ! Clearly after my banning order someone thinks its funny to leave mince pies everywhere. Even on the desk two empty foil trays, ha ha very funny team.

On the operational front.....well not a lot going on (which is a good thing). We try and keep it simple in December and only do the minimal to keep things ticking over at the station.

Friday, 10 December 2010

Training Night

Training night last night, and another chance to get familiar with the new cliff harnesses.  Although we have had them for a few weeks now we won't put them into service until we're ready; nobody wants to be on a cliff top late at night with a casualty stuck half way down, wind and rain howling,  panicking about how the harness fastens together.
It's kit night next week so we'll probably take the opportunity to swap the harnesses then.

Also in a busy training night we had a debrief on last week's Christmas meal, tested and approved a pack of mince pies kindly brought in by the DSO and had a visit from the main man Father Christmas courtesy of the Rotary Club.

Wednesday, 8 December 2010

Christmas Tree

Its that time of the year where the christmas tree will be coming out of the cupboard and dusted down. Last year readers might remember that "Gareth" was selected as the fairy for the top of the tree...........who will be selected this year?

Monday, 6 December 2010

Christmas Crackers

As Ian has already posted, it was the Coastguard Christmas meal on Saturday, so for the benefit of those colleagues who couldn't make it, and for our general readership (hi to you both ...) I thought I'd share some of the jokes from the crackers...

Q: What does the word minimum mean?
A: A very small mother

Q:What did the beaver say to the tree?
A: Nice gnawing you

Q:Why did the witch put her broom in the washing machine?
A: She wanted to have a clean sweep.

Seriously folks, this is as good as it gets, so I'll stop there. But at least in these environmental times its good to see that even bad jokes can be recycled and re-used.

Sunday, 5 December 2010

Team Award

It was the annual Coastguard Christmas dinner last night and that meant the awarding of the "Swanage Coastguard of the Year" award.

The award is presented in memory of Mike "Spike" Williamson who passed away in 2004, the award is given to team member who has contributed the most to the team.

Now normally its a team decision, however to avoid the risk of a recent football voting scandal, the DSO and I decided we would make the important decision.

This year the award was given to two team members.

Eric - When Eric isn't away on holiday, his commitment to the team has been great this year especially during the day when our IRT coverage is a little short. Eric always turns up with a smile and normally a joke which helps the team get on with the task.

Gareth - Poor Gareth (and Mrs K) get put on a lot living next to the station, alarm activations, checking the building, chasing off youths playing on the building are just some of the things Gareth has done. But its when the pagers go off and you get there to find the truck out of the station, kitted up and ready to go which is one of the main reasons for his award this year.

But lets not forgot the whole team, this year had been our busiest ever and its a credit to all of them that our work continues in the town.

Saturday, 4 December 2010

Working Together

The good thing about Swanage this week was everyone working together.

Whilst we got a small amount of snow compared to some parts of the country people enjoyed themselves and to my knowledge stayed safe.

Last night the IRT were out assisting South Western Ambulance as they could not get their ambulance up one of the steepest roads in Swanage, so asked if they could use our 4 x 4.
The patient was transfered from home to the truck, down the hill and then transferred to the waiting ambulance all in a matter or mintues.

Friday, 3 December 2010

Southborne Team Search

The Southborne Team (Bournemouth) were out yesterday in a search operation which looks like it ended well.

Well done chaps.

Thursday, 2 December 2010


The IRT have been assisting Police tonight with transporting a health care worker around Swanage making visits to elderly residents in the town.

Whilst this is not a normal Coastguard incident we are very proud to assist the community using our 4 x 4 vehicles.

All round the country Coastguard teams have been assisting their communities in similar ways and with temperatures over night again going to be in minus figures, teams could again be out tomorrow.


Oh how it has snowed....

Blogger- iPhone

Wednesday, 1 December 2010


New piccies of Team Members Dee and Nick have been put on the main website.

Dee and her cuppa Tea

Nick and his... Kangeroo?

But no one can compete with Brian's Action photo......(so much less camp than his previous photo!)

Brian In 'Cliff Top Action Pose'

Snow Bet

Our very own Gareth " snow watch "Kitching has issued a text alert tonight to the team, snow by 18.00 tonight !

Having challenged him on this he has now stated "Snow at 19.24 in Swanage". The future of mince pie eating at the station hangs in the balance on this prediction.

So the town waits.......

Tuesday, 30 November 2010

November 31st

Just checked the team agreement to see who's on call tomorrow (under CG rules, we're not allowed a rota so we have an agreement amongst the team as to who will assume IRT cover on a particular day, and then the boss writes it down in Excel format for easy reference. But, its definitely NOT a rota).

So, the team agreement shows Messrs Craker and Brown on IRT for the night of 31st November.
Hang on a sec......31st November?

Mutiny ....

A mutiny was averted last night due to the swift deployment of jaffa cakes. (Purchased by Dee)

Meanwhile one of the chaps accidentally brought a Michael Buble album to the station. Fair to say that whilst Mr Buble can hold a tune, it's not something to bring on a Coastguard Station unless you're up for two hours of merciless leg pulling. Driving legend ‘Ian Moustache’ also turned up to help in the harassment.

‘Fly me to the moon, doo doo doo the stars, …….La la la la Jupitar or Mars’

On a serious note the kit night is about checking kit properly and we have found two failures. Both items of equipment are immediately taken out of service and quarantined.

Blogger- iPhone

Monday, 29 November 2010

He wasn't joking....

Deputy Blog reported earlier about a threatened Mince Pie ban at kit night tonight.
Sad to say that this turned out to be perfectly true, and despite the odd gentle reminder none materialised. Apparently, its still November.

On a brigher note, the boss has now offered us Easter eggs in January and fireworks in June, so its not all bad.

Mince Pie Ban

In what can only be described as a complete and utter massively disappointing let down we shall not be having mince pies tonight at kit night. The management (aka Ian) promised them and has now decided that we shall have none.

To quote the management ….. “No Mince Pies it’s bloomin’ November” …..or words to that effect.

Well Ian’s always saying training is important and the team are of the view that we should get in training for Christmas by eating some now.

There may be a mutiny on deck tonight.

Sunday, 28 November 2010

Stay OFF !

As the cold continues to bite and ponds, rivers and lakes freeze over its perhaps time to remind people to stay off the ice.

Already this weekend there has been tragedy where someone went into a river to rescue their dog only to lose their life.

Please stay away from the water.

Should an animal go in DO NOT FOLLOW, call the emergency services.

If you see someone in trouble, DO NOT attempt a rescue, call the emergency services.


Well the weekend passed without any "snow" type incidents for us.

This morning Austen, Gareth and I met at the station to check the building, it was freezing in the garage.....yes the temperature was zero!

This afternoon Gareth and Austen popped out for an hour to give the truck a run, whilst we aren't carrying out accident prevention patrols at the moment, its important to keep the truck in working order.

Tomorrow, the truck, trailer and winch are in for a service.

Saturday, 27 November 2010

Be Prepared

Swanage has woken this morning to a light dusting of snow on the hills, but generally its just very cold.

Gareth has been round to the station and gritted the path, and I've given the truck a run around the car park in case the neighbours wondered what I was doing.

The next 48 hours remains interesting, it all depends where two weather fronts decide to meet and then dump their stuff! (as explained to me by a watch manager at Portland.....!).

Coastguards remain on standby to assist their local communities and support the other emergency services if called on.

Friday, 26 November 2010

Its cold

Weather warning now covers Dorset, risk of sleet and snow, with a warning of ice in the morning.
Probably a night for staying in. Brrr

Thursday, 25 November 2010

Squashed tea

When I arrived at the incident last night I chucked my work bag into the truck and started to get briefed by Austen. Thankful the incident was nearly finished and we were soon on the way back to the station for a de brief.
Back at the station I asked where my bag was and some kind person shouted its ok its in the truck....... I recovered my bag from the back seat and discovered that my tea.....a Cornish Pasty was now the size of a sausage roll......

So come on who sat on it please?

Wednesday, 24 November 2010

A date in time

2010 will see the end of the Coastguard longer will they be produced.

With the belt being tightened the calendar was seen as an expense that could be cut.

So a couple more years and these could be worth some thing on one of those auction sites!

Tuesday, 23 November 2010

Weather Warning

Early warning for the weekend of ice, sleet and snow.

Medal of Honour

During one of our uniform blogs, a sharp eyed reader spotted that John's medals were being worn the wrong way round. Well spotted and thank you, the photo was taken 2 years ago and now in our new procedure manual issued in June there is a section which clearly explains "Medal Protocol"

"The order of precedence (from the centre of the body) is: Orders, Decorations, Campaign Medals, Commemorative Medals (e.g. the new jubliee Medal) and lastly Long Service Awards."

So we will do better !

The Royal Warrant for the award of the Long Service Medal to volunteer Coastguards was introduced and signed by Her Majesty the Queen on 27 January 1954. The original Warrant has since been subject to Amending Warrants in 1966, 1997 and 2002.

The Warrant enables the award of the Long Service Medal to those recommended who have completed 20 years service as a volunteer Coastguard rescue Officer.

The Warrant also enables the award of a Clasp to the Medal after an additional 10 years service and then a second Clasp after a further 10 years (40 years in total service).

Monday, 22 November 2010

Night Swimming

A story from the BBC website about some teenagers in Dorset who, having had the odd drink or two, decided it would be a good idea to go midnight swimming on one of the coldest nights of the year so far.....

There was a certain inevitability that something would go wrong....and it did. Fortunately, it could have been a lot worse, but equally it would have been a whole lot easier on the rescue services, on their families and on the guys themselves if they hadn't attempted a late night dip in the first place!

Sunday, 21 November 2010

....and now for something completely different.

Not Coastguard related, but superb nonetheless.

Click and then scroll right to see, or rather not see him?

Working at Height

Ian caught 'working at height' without personal protection equipment. I say height, it was only 18 inches, but for Ian that's pretty damn high.

Just look at the fear on his face.

The risk assessment is that after this blog I shall be cleaning the Station.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

New Kit

Well this week the Coastguard have really done well..... our new harnesses arrived, along with a new rescue harness.

As Austen modelled the new harness it shows its really figure hugging and shows "one size" fits all.

Just to explain that our older harnesses had come to the end of their life so this is the reason for the new replacement.

Friday, 19 November 2010

Strictly Come Coastguard

Our Sector Manager, Rob, came down last night with lots of new kit and to provide some training. Ooooh new kit, always smells good.

We learnt to Huddle, ….yup Huddling. It’s when three grown men put their arms around each other and wade into water to save someone. Whilst it looks a little odd it gives stability in swift water conditions.

It was a bit like Strictly Come Dancing, three men spinning around like a bunch of ballroom dancers. I for one will not be voting for Austen. In reply Aus said he’d look good in a ballroom dress, I have no reason to doubt this and no reason to want to see him in one either.

Craig Revels-Dogwood “Delightful darling, delightful”

Len Goodspin: Very Good technically, but wishy washy footwork

Alyssa: I liked it.

Bruno Tombola: Oooh Austen, you hot dog you.

The Judges’ Scores are in….

4 6 7 ....SEVEN!

Thursday, 18 November 2010

Water Rescue Training

Colleagues in Hampshire have joined police, fire and RNLI teams in a massive flood rescue exercise designed to get all parties working better together in a real emergency. Of course, as reported in our earlier post, colleagues in Cornwall were doing it for real this week.

We were doing some water rescue training of our own tonight although not on such a grand scale. More about this and maybe some pictures too tomorrow...

Wednesday, 17 November 2010

Coastguards are busy in Cornwall this morning.

Trapped drivers rescued as floods hit Cornwall

A spokesman from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA) said coastguard teams were working with emergency services to evacuate flooded buildings across coastal communities, with the incident elevated to "gold command".

Tuesday, 16 November 2010

Weather & foam

Odd ? Bit of bad weather on route tonight and tomorrow but our very own weather man(occasional blog) has failed to present the facts?

Meanwhile at the station the contractors who built the station had to return today to carry out some minor adjustments.....

Having driven from Portsmouth with a can of expandable foam a gap 15cm by 30cm was filled, this should improve the draft in the garage!

Monday, 15 November 2010

Spring Cleaning

Yesterday morning the team came together for a big clean up of the garage and station. Its amazing how much "rubbish" arrives during a year and we took no prisoners......

The policy in place it an official piece of kit ?
Has it been used in the last 12 months?
It is damaged?
Was it junk?

We built quite a pile despite Austen's best efforts to pull bits out and say "that will be useful"!

Oh sorry forgot the important part of the morning, the bacon rolls, why else would any sensible person get out of bed at 10.00 to do some cleaning?

Sunday, 14 November 2010

Less we forget

After a busy morning at the station (more on this during the week) the team attended the towns remembrance parade.

Then after church it was back to the British Legion for tea and buns.

Saturday, 13 November 2010


Another happy customer (our 8th or 9th dog related incident this year). Walking near to Durlston Castle, a squirrel seemed fun to chase however whilst the squirrel took a right turn up the tree, Zoe took a dive over the cliff landing 40ft below.

The area is very steep so to get her back up a full rescue had to be instigated to ensure the safety of the team and Zoe.

Assisted by the St Albans team, Zoe was recovered safe and well back to the top (well done Gareth on your 1st rescue as a newly qualified technician).

There was a heart stopping moment as the dog bag was opened and I asked if anyone had hold of the lead as Zoe jumped towards her owners and then promptly back in the direction of the cliff!

New Chief Executive

The Maritime & Coastguard Agency (MCA) has a new Chief Executive, Sir Alan Massey.

When we say new, Sir Alan has been in post since about July, so we must apologise that the news hasn't been posted before but this news has'nt filtered down very quickly.

Sir Alan comes to the Agency with a lot of experience, his previous role was the Second Sea Lord and Commander in Chief of Naval Home Command.

Friday, 12 November 2010

Uniform, part 2

Black and Whites......used on patrols, meetings or other official duties, also worn under the jacket during official duties.
During the winter or those colder summer days, a Coastguard blue jumper is worn over the shirt.

Wednesday, 10 November 2010

John Ketley was a weatherman, and so was Michael Fish.

Another sunny day in Swanage tomorrow then .....? Um no.

So weather expert Ocassional Blog, what's the forecast for the weekend?

Blogger- iPhone

Nothing Much to Report

First day back on IRT call for your Occasional Blogger today having had a few days away. Looks like the number of incidents has tailed right off lately and today was no different (perhaps the safety message is getting through??) A quiet return to duty then.

And what about Deputy Blog's weather forecasting yesterday? 24 hours of rain? It's been glorious today for those of us fortunate enough to have been in Swanage.

Tuesday, 9 November 2010


Well it looks like rain for the next 24 hours. (ok ok 6.32 hours!!!)We better keep watch on the Coastguard Station which despite being brand spanking new floods outside. A mixture of a natural spring in the car park which constantly runs, and the fact that when raining the whole car park sheds water to the lowest point. (i.e. outside our station). The drains are unable to cope and it all backs up.

“So what, the water’s outside”, I here you say. Well the problem is that as soon as the rescue vehicle is taken out of the door its wheels are under a foot or so of water which means no one can get in without getting both them and the rescue kit wet. Sadly the contractors and architect did not take account of our concerns which were identified at the building stage.

So we drive the vehicle 50 yards up the car park lug all the kit through the building and out the side door. Always a nightmare job in the rain, especially when dark and cold and under pressure to meet our rescue tasking.
Still it could be worse it could be winter, when the spring water outside the doors freezes it’s deadly.

Monday, 8 November 2010


Podcast from the MCA Website about Helicopters. (2008)

..and a wonky photo from me.

Sunday, 7 November 2010

Uniform - No 1's

On the theme of uniforms, these jackets (and hats) are for "posh " or special events, like remembrance parades. Long ago Coastguard Officers wore these jackets all the time and I've seen officers standing in the water wearing them!

Rank insignia is put on the sleeves, medals on left (although in the above picture John has medals on the right which are his families medals)

Saturday, 6 November 2010

Remember Remember

Just a short note to say Remember Remember the 5th, 6th and 7th November is not a chance to fire those flares that are out of date.

It is illegal to fire flares when not in distress, it could cost lives, it wastes resources.

Enjoy your fireworks but don't use flares.

Friday, 5 November 2010


A sharped eyed reader has spotted some team members wearing different logos on their polo shirts and asked why?

Well both logos are in use, the Coastguard Crest (top) is an offical crest and is very important to team members. The MCA logo was brought in during the 1990's when HM Coastguard and two other maritime agencies merged to form the Maritime and Coastguard Agency.

From 1990 all our clothing started to come in with the MCA logo on but Coastguard Rescues Officers (called Auxiliaries in those days) wanted to continue using the crest to show the search and rescue side of the agency rather than the "MCA Brand"

As time went on the Agency when on to supply polo shirts with the MCA logo on and various teams went out and purchased privately similar style polo shirts but with the Crest on and their station name on, it was sort of adopted unoffically but funny how it was copied all around the country!

So official you are meant to wear the MCA tops but its accepted team members have brought their own tops with the crest on.

Rumour has it that in time we may revert to the crest only again .....we wait and see.

Perhaps in another blog we will cover the different uniform types

Thursday, 4 November 2010

Slowing Down?

You would think at this time of year things should slow no

Meetings to discuss the year and put in place actions ready for next year, paperwork that needs updating and generally networking with other organisations to ensure smooth work in the future.

In Swanage we are very good at working together, Police, Fire,Town Council, Ambulance and Lifeboat and its not till things like the chain ferry going off for a service do we realise how we do rely on each other for support.

The team are focusing on our tidy up weekend, when we are having a major autumn clean up of the station, mostly so we can find all the clothing thats been lost over the year!
There are some minor repairs to be done and a flag pole base to be this space.

Tuesday, 2 November 2010


Earlier this year the Rotary Club in Swanage presented me with a very special award.

The certificate reads

"in appreciation of tangible and significant assistance given for the furtherance of better understanding and friendly relations among peoples of the world."

Not only was this a great honour for me but also the whole team, so when the certificate arrived I asked Maggie Hardy the local Rotary Chairperson to present it at the station with the team.

So sorry for the delay in bringing this news but I had mislaid the photos!

Monday, 1 November 2010

Peace and quiet...???

Deputy Blog has gone away for a quiet week in the Lake District.

It's great to get out in the mountains away from the hustle and bussle of everyday.....ZROOOMMMM a Tornado Jet flies down the valley. Yeah thanks for that RAF chaps!

Still perhaps a quiet walk around the Thirlmere Woods looking for Red Squizzels. So we're tip toeing around so not to scare the little blighters... WHOOOP WHOOP WHOOP and we now have three Longbow Apache Attack Helicopters over the lake. Yeah thanks Army Flying chaps!

Get back to the cottage, ah peace and quiet... Nope. More WHOOOP WHOOPS from a Search and Rescue Helicopter as it buzzes the cottage. Yeah thanks Search and Rescue Chaps!

Then BEEP BEEP, it's Ian texting me to see if I have a blog........There's no escape.

Sunday, 31 October 2010

Bunker Busting

As the season draws to a close we headed out on Saturday to check the route up to the remote aerial site on top of Godlingston Hill. Its ok in the day, but I bet we would have to go up there in the dark and no doubt when the weather is horrendous !

For security reasons we cant show you inside the bunker (although its obvious where it is!), but on route Tom and Rid had a little issue with a gate.

Thankfully Tom mended the gate, we found the bunker, got in but were concerned with the number of warning signs on the door regarding radiation and if you lost radio 2 briefly at 2.30 on Saturday, I did tell Tom not to press the button !